Ghent polling station sealed off after white powder found in ballot boxes

A polling station in the East Flemish city of Ghent has been sealed off while the Civil Protection Agency investigate the nature of white powder that had been deposited in the two ballot boxes there.

Staff at the polling station found the powder in both the ballot box containing the votes for the provincial elections and in the ballot box containing the votes for the municipal elections.  The powder was contained in four envelopes. The envelopes have been taken away to a  laboratory for analysis.  

The police were called and the polling station was cordoned off. The Civil Protection Agency is at the scene and it is as yet unclear how long it will be before the ballot boxes can be released for counting. A total of 600 ballot papers are affected.  The incident means that a full result from Ghent will be delayed.  

A police spokeswoman told VRT News that there is no danger of explosion.  She added that no one at the polling station need medical treatment.  

The ballot papers were taken to Peutie for examination by the army, but the powder proved to be entirely innocent.